Septemeber 29, 2004
Pakistan Times Foreign Desk

Permanent Membership: Pakistan-Italy oppose UNSC expansion, stress equality

ROME (Italy): Pakistan and Italy have agreed to block the expansion in number of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to ensure equality of nations in the world body.

Addressing a joint media conference with the Italian President in Rome after their one-on-one meeting, the President said Pakistan and Italy are in total consonance on the issue of expansion of UN Security Council.

He said we will be against any attempt to violate the basic tenets of democratic norms and equality of nations and oppose attempts at allowing special privilege for certain countries making them “more equal” than others.

The Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi speaking on the occasion said Pakistan and Italy both envisage a role that could enable the United Nations playing effective role as provided in its charter and responding to any threat to the peace and security.

The President said both the countries are in total consonance on political issues and have a desire to enhance already existing close ties. He said, Pakistan wants to develop deep-rooted and wide-ranging relations with Italy in all fields particularly in trade, commerce and economy.

He dispelled the impression that the world is heading for clash of civilisations saying that he does not buy this theory. He said in light of his proposed enlightened moderation, Muslims should shun extremism and US and EU jointly make efforts to address core issues which give rise to extremism. He said any theory generating cleavage between Islam and Christianity cannot be accepted as it can be detrimental for world peace.

The President said Pakistan is making successful efforts to combat terrorism but without addressing the core political disputes, poverty and illiteracy confronting the Muslim world, extremism cannot be rooted out. He said he briefed his Italian counterpart about Pakistan efforts for peace and stability in South Asia and Afghanistan. Italian President Carlo Ciampi said Italy wishes to contribute to the economic and social development of Pakistan and to enhance Pakistan’s partnership with the European Union. About terrorism he said without addressing poverty and oppression, it cannot be controlled. He said Pakistan can contribute a lot to international peace and stability along with the European Union at the UN platform.

The Italian President said Islam is a religion of tolerance and coexistence and has always advocated peace. He proposed dialogue between the West and Islam to prevent clash of civilizations.

APP adds: President Ciampi warned that ignoring international law could lead to serious consequences and called for reforming the United Nations to respond to threats of collective security.

“Sliding into increasingly vicious conflicts, and failing to acknowledge that international law is a guarantee of civil coexistence for us all, can only lead to ruin.”

He said it was no coincidence that there was an increasing awareness in the international community of the need to acknowledge the primacy of the United Nations.

He said that he did not see a more effective remedy than a multilateral system underpinned by the agreements of the states.

Addressing Pak-Italy trade and investment conference in Rome, President Pervez Musharraf urged the EU countries to review the policy of issuing travel advisory to Pakistan as this policy is hurting Pakistan’s economic objectives . He said, “Perceptions are not in accords with realities on ground. Reality in Karachi and Lahore is not of the kind that there should be a travel advisory for Pakistan”. Musharraf declared that law and order in Pakistan is good and climate for foreign investment is conducive. He called upon the Italian investors to invest in Pakistan and contribute in our economic renaissance. The President said Pakistan offers level playing field for foreign and local investors to earn maximum benefits by investing in Pakistan.

He said despite a shock of nine eleven, India Pakistan tension two years back and recession in the world market, Pakistan has been able to turn round its economy by implementing economic reforms agenda. He said by increasing foreign direct investment in Pakistan we want to transmit fruits of macro economic facilities to reduce poverty and improve socio-economic condition of the masses. Highlighting the achievements of the government in the last five years, the President said through economic and administrative reforms we have been able to almost root out corruption at the high level and improvement in governance. Referring the importance of Pakistan for becoming a hub of economic and trade activities in Asia, the President said we are on the way to normalize our relations with India, improve stability in Afghanistan and combat terrorism.

He said as the situation becomes normal in the region it will be Pakistan which will work as a gateway to get access in Afghanistan, Central Asian States and Gulf countries in China.

He said Pakistan is also on the way to improve its infrastructure and provide linkage to Central Asian States. The President said we want structural revival of Pakistan which has linkage with economic revival and the Italian investors can play an active role in this regard.

He said Italy and Pakistan enjoy very close ties in all fields. We want to further cement these ties for the benefit of our peoples. He said Italian director foreign investment can help Pakistan to lead and generate more employment opportunities and reduce poverty. Earlier, the Italian Finance Minister addressing the conference appreciated Pakistan’s economic reforms and hoped that the Italian investors will take full benefit of investment particularly in Pakistan.

The Minister for Privatization Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Governor State Bank highlighted achievements resulting from economic structural reforms in Pakistan. Later, the President held a meeting with the spiritual leader of Ismaeli community Prince Aga Khan and discussed with him matters regarding development in Pakistan.

APP adds: The President assured Italian businessmen of continuity of economic policies and all legal protection to foreign investment.

He underscored that despite ups and down and other problems, not a single foreign investor has ever suffered.

Highlighting main features of the countrys liberal investment policy, the President stated that foreign investors could have 100 per cent equity and there was no bar on remitting dividend, profits, fee etc. President Musharraf also referred to reduced cost of business, owing to low interest rates and availability of cheap labour force.

The President told the potential investors that the government was development necessary infrastructure for investment and specially referred to the under-construction Gwadar port that was ideally located to benefit foreign investors.

He identified agro-based industry, telecom, IT, mining as some of the sectors where the Italian investors can invest.

The President also shared with the participants efforts and contribution by Pakistan for peace and harmony in the region and the world. In this respect, he underlined Pakistans role as the front-line state in the fight against terrorism.

He, however, stressed that all actions against terrorism were of short-term nature and called for having a long-term policy to strike at the root causes that breed extremism and militancy.

In this respect, he said, Pakistan offered a strategy of “enlightened moderation” which urges the Muslim world to shun extremism and militancy and focus on human resource development and calls on the developed world to help resolve disputes involving Mulisms, in a just manner and also assist them in their socio-economic development.

In the regional context, the President, Pakistan was doing its utmost to bring peace and harmony to the war-stricken Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan was fully supporting the election process in that country and contributing resources in its reconstruction efforts. On Pak-India relations, he added, Pakistan was trying to normalize ties with India and moving on dual channels of CBMs and dialogue process. He, however, urged that both these have to move together in tandem.

The President also spoke of the anti-terror operations in the South Waziristan region to flush out foreign terrorist from the border area. He reiterated that Pakistan would not allow anyone to use its territory for terrorism inside the country or anywhere in the world.

President General Pervez Musharraf was accorded warm welcome when he arrived here Tuesday on three day visit to Italy. He was received by officials of Foreign Office and representatives of Pope John Paul-II at the airport when he flew from Amsterdam.

There are around 40,000 Pakistanis in Italy and the President will also meet the members of community at a reception during his stay in Italy.?